What keeps me up at night is a haunting suspicion that we have reached the end of reason. A confusion emerges, akin to what Alice must have felt when she fell through the rabbit hole, and what once made sense now borders on the edge of an unacceptable reason.
Having COVID-19, indeed, feels like spinning in teacups. In 2020, before vaccinations were available, I contracted the virus, twice, 11 months apart. And both times, I experienced the confusion of cognitive dissonance–what was happening to my body? My toes, my eyes, my tongue, my nose, my lungs, my hair, my reproductive organs, my blood? My body betrayed me with such force that the first time, before Covid was thought to be present in the US, I entered my doctor’s office and asked, “Do I have an autoimmune disease or cancer, because something is dreadfully wrong with me.” However, the delirium of a 103.7° fever lingered beyond recovery. Not because of any long-term physical condition, but because of mental cognitive dissonance.
Living in a post-Covid body with a pre-Covid sensibility is a strange state of being. All who have survived might consider themselves in studies of one. In my own post-Covid journey, I seek to understand its long-term impact on my body, and, alongside the benefit of my (twice vaccinated) physician husband, I have taken to reading the science to best navigate through healing. However, it seems that peer-reviewed science has lost relevance. No longer am I asked to “know my blood,” as I am told that what my blood is doing doesn’t matter, but rather, whether a Walgreen’s employee has stuck a needle in my arm. It seems more relevant to others to know whether said technician has penetrated my arm with said needle rather than knowing the impact of what the serum inside the vial has accomplished or not. And regardless of whether or not my blood has responded in a positive way to said serum, showing a card or documentation of this moment of penetration is what is required to secure my freedom in what I am told is a free society whether my blood has responded. Never mind that I survived the virus twice and have immunity markers “the same as someone who was vaccinated twice” as written by my physician.
We are being asked to ignore the instinct of our blood and bones. In exchange for this indiscretion, and with proof of “documentation,” we are being awarded with travel, concerts, restaurants, and access. As a Covid survivor, there are many tests–PCR tests, antibody serology tests, visits to specialists each with a test of their own as new symptoms arise. But the greatest test of all has been the test of reason.
During my nightly visit to “Survivor Corp,” a website and Facebook group that was recently featured in the New Yorker, a chat thread featured a post of someone’s serology test. The results revealed a high positive presence of Covid antibodies. Curiously, the group admin responded with this post:
“Admin here. Regardless of antibodies, please click to our website to learn more about the vaccines. They are safe and effective. Talk to your doctors and get vaccinated!” A link to the vaccine site followed. Intrigued that such a blanket statement should exist, I posted an article from Science Magazine, introducing it with a description from Wikipedia;
“Science, also widely referred to as Science Magazine, is the peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science[AAAS 2] (AAAS) and one of the world’s top academic journals. It was first published in 1880, is currently circulated weekly and has a subscriber base of around 130,000.”
I then posted an article from Science entitled, “Having SARS-CoV-2 once confers much greater immunity than a vaccine—but vaccination remains vital” and added:
“It seems that someone or something is asking the admin to say, ‘get vaccinated regardless of your blood immunity.’ I am curious to learn more. Is this a forum for discussion or is there some kind of overarching agenda corralling people to get vaccinated? What is the objective of Survivor Corp? I am pro-vaccination, I just want clarity. The science supports blood immunity. The U.S. policy supports vaccination. What is the role of Survivor Corp in this free expression platform? Please clarify. Thank you.”
I proceeded to post a second article, this time from the journal Nature about serology tests, but my post froze red, and I was instructed to click. Here is an image of message I received:
How appropriate, I thought to myself, that the Victoria and Albert Museum recently opened a new exhibit featuring art around “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” What a fitting counterpoint for a world gone mad.
Greater even than the loss of lives through Covid Times is the loss of freedom for the generations that follow. Were freedom to extinguish, then the souls lost have died in vain. We are living through the greatest public health crisis of our generation. And yet, we are being asked to turn away from scientific curiosity and blindly follow governmental policy. Our culture already inculcates a co-dependence with pharmaceuticals in our privatized medical system where they stand to come out the economic victor. Their influence is great, and as the opioid crisis reminds us, they are known to use the power of science to thwart the power of reason. As we continue to find our way through Covid Times, may we feel the call to return to reason, #KnowOurBlood, and seek a balanced clarity of the way through this crisis, inclusive of reason, inquiry, and healthy debate. Until then, we are all just drinking Kool-Aid.
“It was all very well to say, ‘Drink me,’ but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. ‘No, I’ll look first,’ she said, ‘and see whether it’s marked ‘poison’ or not.’ —
Alice, Alice, Where are You?
Founder of The Open Temple in Venice, CA, Lori’s transdenominational rabbinate was informed by her studies at the American Jewish University, years living in Israel studying within an Orthodox Jewish framework and graduation from both the Academy for Jewish Religion/California (MA Rabbinics and Ordination) as well as the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (MA Jewish Studies). Her work with Open Temple has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, PBSNewsHour, the Jewish Journal amongst others. She and her husband, Dr. Joel Shapiro, live in the Venice (CA) canals with their daughters. Lori is a graduate of Barnard College.